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Matt Spence

Career Path: Business Analyst, Universal Music Group
Location: London, UK

Matt SpenceI was always interested in technology and the everyday impact it has on peoples lives. Since high school I have been interested in making interesting products or services that people enjoy using or makes their life easier. Music seemed like a fantastic place to start, as it has a strong presence in everyone’s daily lives all over the world.

What are you doing now?

I am learning about the world of Music Publishing (songwriting and musical creation) in a technical environment. I analyse, design and manage the build of applications for songwriters to distribute, license and collect royalties for their musical works.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I liked the campus and how close it was to the city. The staff seemed like they had a good delivery of the course curriculum and it had a balance that resonated with my interests. I had heard a lot about how great the social culture of Newcastle is, and I believe this plays just as important as a role when taking into account the place that you are going to select a place to spend 3/4/5 years of life.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

We had a mix of lectures, seminars and team projects. Our course was less focused on examination of memory, and more concerned with how you could apply the lessons to real world situations - something I am very grateful for now, looking back.

How connected was your course with industry?

The ITMB course was actually established by industry professionals, with huge names in technology like IBM, Barclays, Virgin, and more. This probably isn’t a common aspect across university courses in general, however, massively worked in our favour for placements and internships. Each year, IBM offer a handful of students the opportunity to work on the technical team at The Wimbledon Championships. This is only offered to students enrolled on the ITMB degree from all universities across the country. The year that I was lucky enough to be selected, there were 2 Northumbria students chosen out of the 4 places offered, and to my knowledge, there has been a presence of at least 1 Northumbria student each year since.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

I believe that any kind of placement, internship, work experience or personal project provides an incredible amount of opportunity, and would highly recommend all students to take advantage! I completed some level of industry experience each year through my courses, which has provided me with a great platform for my career already. At the end of my first year I developed a mobile application outside of studies with a course mate. This was also the year that I completed the Wimbledon IBM experience. In the summer of my second year, I started my placement year, which began with a 3 month internship working at Apple in California. My third year was a continuation of the placement year where I worked for a local company to develop a mobile app in the first half of the year. The second half I took advantage of the study abroad programme, where I studied in Milan, Italy for 6 months. At the end of my final year, I had acquired enough experience that I was able to secure a full time job at the biggest music company in the world. This, I believe, would have been a very difficult task without completing the placements and projects that I did.

What was the best thing about your course?

I liked the ability to take whatever interests you had in that area, and apply them to a topic of real world value. My final year project was based upon my experience at Apple and was something that I could actually present back to my colleagues.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

I managed to get a fundamental knowledge of the world of IT and Business, from a variety of useful modules. This has meant that I can apply what I had learnt in class, to my daily tasks at work. I see my time at Northumbria as a spring board that accelerated my career and I am very grateful for the opportunities provided.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Soft skills: Professionalism, communication and presentation. Hard skills: Project management, Technical understanding and design.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

I enjoyed being able to work with like-minded people in an environment that was interesting and inspiring. Moving away from home was a great step in independence and allowing me to develop personally as well as professionally.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

Make sure that you are interested in the course. I would highly recommend taking a quick look at the city if you have never been. If you are successful in obtaining a place, take all opportunities given to you, and make your own opportunities.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Enjoyable, Practical, Rewarding

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